Meeting the awesome team behind Meet Manila was an enriching and humbling experience. Getting invited to their launch party was to me, by a long shot. I've never considered myself to be well-known in the travel blogging community just yet so I was surprised. But I owe it to my amazing followers who've been supportive of every journey that I've made.
Meet Manila's Launch Party - 'Tertulia Night'
The launch of Meet Manila introduced the 'Tertulia Night'. I actually had no clue as to what a Tertulia meant, all the more what transpired from such an event. And as I've been enlightened of its true meaning later on, I suddenly felt real excitement for this 'upcoming social gathering'. Now, it wasn't your typical 'party'. The 'Tertulia' itself meant more like an evening affair or a soiree of sorts. So you can just imagine a festive occasion where some of the most inspiring Filipino individuals come together to share their personal views and to meet for the same causes.
Meet 'Meet Manila'
Meet Manila is actually the brainchild of Ms. Ysobel Hamidjojo of Loudwhistle Inc. I was happy to have finally met her in person. Not only was she very interactive with us 'tweeps' online (a term used to identify people on twitter), she was also very nice in person. I was very much stunned when she said 'congratulations' and made beso-beso with me right after our short 'shining moment' on stage. She's now one of my idols, as she and her wonderful team has successfully made #ThoughtfulTourism a remarkable achievement (special mention to Ms. Francesca and her bubbly personality!).
|From L-R: Mr. Vince, Ms. Noem (aka Momblogger) and Ms. Ysobel. :)|
Anyway, after coming home from a 3-day trip from Batangas, I immediately changed into my Filipiniana-ish outfit and went straight to the venue. Guests were also asked to come in their Filipiniana attires. But I, on the other hand, had no luck finding an outfit that would best match my budget and body frame. The closest that I could get was wearing this linen, mid-sleeve blouse with intricate embroidery. This, I pulled right from my Ate's closet.
The Tertuila Night held at the Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant
Now, the Tertuila Night was held at the Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant (along Kalayaan Ave.). I got there about 6:30 pm and was instantly welcomed with a form of darkness. I looked straight at the place and started asking myself if I had the right directions. My initial reaction was -- deserted restaurant? I was later on informed that an electrical wire had just been cut from its post, causing multitudes of vehicles and people who rode past the hanging wire in a chaotic phase. The place had just experienced an unexpected black-out. But despite the mishap, the organizers behind the event still made the night more inviting for all of the guests. There were actually floating candles on a water fountain, and several more around the establishment.
As we entered the restaurant, Ms. Francesca and her team immediately greeted me and my friend June, and apologized for the black-out. We were then asked to sign-up, and was lead by Ms. Francesca again towards the buffet tables. Around that time, a 'Bugtungan' (Tagalog for stating out riddles) was just about to transpire, which was initially lead by Ms. Francine Prieto and Bogart the Explorer. :)
The Meet-A-Hero Initiative
June and I didn't eat just yet. We tried standing outside the garden area, but really couldn't see much from where we were. We just decided to stay indoors and sat by one of Adarna's wooden windows. This was also the time when the Meet-A-Hero nominees were introduced one by one (some of the most well-deserving, motivated, and inspiring Filipino citizens that strived to uphold many great causes). I actually had the opportunity of meeting one of Meet Manila's heroes -- Mr. Froilan Grate of Mother Earth Foundation. Froilan was actually with his bestfriend, Ms. Nyel (she was also chosen as an Empowered Traveler), who both happened to be June's college orgmates! :)
The Mouthwatering Adarna Experience
The food at Adarna was exquisite, despite not clearly seeing what we were putting into our mouths. But all I can say is that the Lumpiang Sariwa was to die for! Kudos to the chef, and of course to the lovely owner, Ms. Elizabeth Angsioco. Anyway, I actually wanted to get seconds but Ms. Francesca requested that I go on stage as soon as I finish my dinner (hehehe.. no worries though!)
When Ms. Francesca asked that I go on stage (an introduction of the contributors for their 'Empowered Travelers' category), I sort of felt a little nervous. There were no speaking parts, so I felt a bit relieved by it. And when they called my name as the first Empowered Traveler, my heart raised. The Editor of Travel Magazine, Ms. Monique was already on stage. She congratulated me while handing out an issue of their noteworthy travel magazine. I actually was awe-stricken by her and just blurted out the words "I've seen you on TV!!" right at her. She actually smiled and felt a little embarrassed by me, which lead to her asking my blog's name. I proudly told her that I owned BUDGET BIYAHERA. :)
|Right beside Ms. Monique of Travel Magazine. :)|
The Empowered Travelers of Meet Manila
It was also around that same time when I was given the 'Prize' of the night. I was handed out a Q350 phone courtesy of my travel sponsor -- Lenovo Philippines! :) So, here's a big THANK YOU to Lenovo for their very thoughtful gift! :)
Also, after getting called, a fellow blogger -- Gabz of Pinoy Travel Freak was also awarded as an Empowered Traveler, along with new blogger acquaintances -- Ms. Vera Venus and Mr. Jaypee David. It was truly a winning moment, just being in the presence of these remarkable people.
A Cultural Dance Performance
When we got off stage, a cultural performance was then being prepared to help end the night. Four kinds of Filipino dances were showcased that evening. And as the lights came back, a little rain transpired. But the dancers were professional enough to brave through this certain situation.
Grateful for #ThoughtfulTourism
I was, and still honored to have been invited to Meet Manila's launch party. Not only was I in the midst of intellects and inspiring advocates, I was also given the opportunity to partake in such a wonderful travel community.
So, here's to Meet Manila's success on #ThoughtfulTourism, to LENOVO Philippines for providing me my Q350 phone, and to TRAVEL MAGAZINE for choosing me as one of their contributors. Maraming Salamat po! :)
I will truly make every travel count for #ThoughtfulTourism!
Explore & Be Free!